Leafs Game: 3 Keys- Bruins at Maple Leafs, Game 4 of Easter...

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Published Time: 27.04.2024 - 18:13:26 Modified Time: 27.04.2024 - 18:13:26

"Game 4 is a huge one," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. "Going up 3-1 or coming back home 2-2, that's a drastic change in the series. So the desperation for both teams is going to be extremely high, which normally makes it a very intense game. If we expect to win that, we're going to have to have by far our best game of the series.  Leafs Game

Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

If the Maple Leafs come back to win at home at Scotiabank Arena, the series is tied. And that swing is not lost on the players. 

"Game 4 is a huge one," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. "Going up 3-1 or coming back home 2-2, that's a drastic change in the series. So the desperation for both teams is going to be extremely high, which normally makes it a very intense game. If we expect to win that, we're going to have to have by far our best game of the series. 

"We know they're going to compete harder than they did the last few games -- and they were good. They're competing extremely hard. They're playing very physical. They're not giving us a ton. So we have to continue to be better and improve."

Part of that improvement could come in a return to action for William Nylander, the Maple Leafs forward who has missed each of the first three games of the series with an undisclosed injury. Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said Saturday, "We're preparing for Willy to play at this point."

"He's a very important player for us in many regards," Keefe said Friday. "Getting him back would be important, but obviously getting him to full health and making sure he's ready to step into a series of this caliber in this time of year, all that kind of stuff, that would be the next step."

Another thing to watch is Auston Matthews, the 69-goal scorer from the regular season who did not skate before Game 3 and who missed the team's practice on Friday, with Keefe saying, "He needs another day today just to try to help restore his energy and recharge and all those kind of things." Matthews was on the ice for the team's morning skate ahead of Game 4. 

Teams that take a 3-1 lead in a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoffs series have won the series 90.5 percent of the time (306-32).

Here are 3 keys for Game 4:

During the regular season, the Maple Leafs finished seventh in the NHL with a 24.0 power-play percentage, as part of the second-best offense in the NHL (3.63 goals per game). But the power play hasn't been firing in the playoffs so far, with the Maple Leafs scoring just once in 11 chances in the first three games of the series. They did not score on five power-play opportunities in Game 3.

"I think we've actually had a lot of chances to score," Nylander said. "[Boston has] been doing a good job, their goalie has been playing well so we just have to try to create more rebounds and get pucks to the net. It's an easy thing to say but I think it works too."

The Maple Leafs have been held in check in the two games the Bruins have won, scoring one goal in Game 1 and two in Game 3. They have scored more than two goals just once (Game 2, when they scored three) in their past 10 playoff games, going back to Game 5 of their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning last season.

So far, the Bruins have gone with their every-other-game plan for their goaltending. Jeremy Swayman started Games 1 and 3; Linus Ullmark started Game 2.

But will the Bruins continue with that, inserting Ullmark into Game 4?

Not only is Swayman 5-0-0 against the Maple Leafs this season, including two wins during the playoffs in which he's allowed just three goals, but he might just be getting to Toronto. 

"Sometimes I don't think that," Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said Thursday. "But when (Toronto forward Max) Domi goes off the bench and bumps [Swayman] on purpose, makes me think that maybe he's in their head a little bit."

David Pastrnak led the Bruins with 110 points (47 goals, 63 assists) in the regular season, far outpacing Marchand, who was second on the team with 67 points (29 goals, 38 assists). But in the playoffs, Pastrnak is tied for third on the team with three points (one goal, two assists) in three games.

The Bruins need more from him and more at 5-on-5, which Montgomery called "probably the area that needs to improve the most," stemming from puck support, winning battles, and spending more time in the offensive zone. 

As for Pastrnak, his time on ice shot up from 16:37 in Game 1 to 18:39 in Game 2 to 20:03 in Game 3. He had three shots on goal in each of the first two games, but only one in Game 3, though he had nine shot attempts in that game.

"I thought he could have had a hat trick in the first period," Montgomery said of Game 3. "He didn't hit his spots. He's going to hit his spots."

Jake DeBrusk -- Pavel Zacha -- David Pastrnak

Brad Marchand -- Charlie Coyle -- Morgan Geekie

James van Riemsdyk -- Trent Frederic -- Danton Heinen 

John Beecher -- Jesper Boqvist -- Patrick Maroon

Mason Lohrei -- Charlie McAvoy

Hampus Lindholm -- Brandon Carlo

Parker Wotherspoon -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Jeremy Swayman

Linus Ullmark 

Scratched: Matt Grzelcyk, Jakub Lauko

Injured: Andrew Peeke (upper body), Justin Brazeau (upper body), Derek Forbort (undisclosed)

Tyler Bertuzzi -- Auston Matthews -- Max Domi

Matthew Knies -- John Tavares -- Mitch Marner

William Nylander -- Pontus Holmberg -- Calle Jarnkrok 

Nicholas Robertson -- David Kampf -- Ryan Reaves 

Morgan Rielly -- Ilya Lyubushkin

Simon Benoit -- Jake McCabe

Joel Edmundson -- TJ Brodie

Ilya Samsonov

???? Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning ???? Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs ???? New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals ???? Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders ???? Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden Knights ???? Winnipeg Jets vs. Colorado Avalanche ???? Vancouver Canucks vs. Nashville Predators ???? Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings

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